Monday, March 26, 2012

El Bombardeo de Guernica

On April 26, 1937 German planes appeared in the sky over Gernika, Euskal Herria, Spain. Approaching from the north there was no early warning on that Monday morning and it was market day. The town was bombed, it civilian structures decimated, many citizens killed. Men, women and children were killed indiscriminately. When the smoke cleared, what had been a quaint village with bars, shops apartments and churches had been turned into the earliest image of the effects of Blitzkrieg. Death tolls were small only in comparison to the seven digit figures to which the world would soon accustom itself. If the Spanish Civil War was, as some have said, the beginning of World War II, then the bombing of Gernika was the hinge on which western civilization would swing. Gernika was a harbinger of the atrocities of which fascism, in all its forms, was capable.
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of this horror of mankind, we should not sit idle as most of the world's governments did in 1937. There are evil and despicable men still alive, still seeking destruction in many places in the world. If we can make a difference, do anything to stop them, we should. The bombing of Gernika opened the door to a world of total war and annihilation. It was humanity's first glimpse into the devastation that had lain ahead. Perhaps in looking back upon it, we can open a new door, one that pursues justice and peace.

The next few articles posted here will be devoted to many facets of Gernika, the bombing and representation of the town, bombing, people and culture. It is the focal point of a Master's Thesis in history. Hopefully it may be well represented here.
I would very much love comments from those who have a memory of Gernika in any way, I would like to know social reactions to the event of the bombing, as well as reactions and thoughts on memorials or the town as it is today.

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